Broadcast area: Metro Manila
Branding: 99.5 RT
Slogan: The Rhythm of the City
Frequency: 99.5 MHz
First air date:
1976 (as 99.5 RT)
January 1, 2007 (as Hit 99.5/99.5 Hit FM)
March 23, 2008 (as 99.5 Campus FM/Campus 99.5)
September 1, 2008 (as the second iteration of 99.5 RT)
Format: Contemporary Hit Radio
Power: 25,000 watts
Callsign meaning: DW, Remedios, Tuason
Owner: Real Radio Network Inc.
DWRT-FM, broadcasting as 99.5 RT, is an FM radio station owned and operated by Real Radio Network Inc. in The Philippines. Its studio is located at Paragon Plaza Building, Mandaluyong City.
It was originally known as 99.5 RT from 1976 to 2006, as Hit 99.5 from 2007 to March 19, 2008, and as Campus 99.5 from March 23 to August 14, 2008. On September 1, 2008, the frequency reverted back to the 99.5 RT brand.
99.5 RT initially went on air in 1976. It was then originally owned and operated by Trans-Radio Broadcasting Corp. (now GVM Radio/TV Corporation, currently operating Rock 990, Cebu’s Y 101 & Butuan’s Majik 97.5, RT’s original sister station). In 1996, the station was acquired by Real Radio Network, Incorporated, its current owner.
Its studios were located for most of its existence on Ayala Avenue in the central business district of Makati, at one time in Pacific Bank Building, then later moved to Royal Match Building. In April 1999, it was moved to its present location at the Paragon Plaza Building, along EDSA, Mandaluyong City.
99.5 RT was considered as one of the FM radio stations to set the trend in using the Contemporary Hit Radio format first popularized in the United States, commonly known as “Pop” or “Top 40″. RT first began broadcasting in 1976 under the helm of Emilio Tuason, who also became one of the deejays (his on-air name was “ET”), until personal problems forced his retirement from the station in the 1980s.
99.5 RT became famous for playing the hits three months ahead of most other music stations because its programming philosophy did not pander to the masses nor cater to the lowest common denominator. It was more concerned with bringing the latest hits to the audience as soon as they were released by the artists. One of the most remembered examples of this was in the early 1980s when RT broke in the song “More To Lose” by the obscure English duo, Seona Dancing (one-half of which is the now famous lead actor and comic of the British television hit series The Office, Ricky Gervais). The station kept everyone guessing about the identity of the song by announcing the title as “Medium” and done by the artist “Fade”, two words which were actually descriptions of the song: medium tempo with an ending that faded out.
Over the years, RT became popular with different slogans such as “The Rhythm Of The City”, “Red Hot Radio”, “Maximum Music Authority”, and “Source For The Best Hits”. For the last two years before it was rebranded, 99.5 RT’s slogan was “The Most Hit Music”.
Most of Metro Manila’s legendary deejays honed their skills in RT, including Mike Pedero, who initiated the Top 40/CHR format of the station, Joppy, Al W. Leader, Dr. John Madness, Eric Caine, Adam Kite, Brian Panty, Joey Pizza, The Kaizer, Johnny Ceasar (now with RJ 100), Jeremiah Junior, Bob Kcurry, The Mighty Thor, Paul Reno, North Andrew (now Program Director of MTV Philippines), Jake Swann, Boo Kyler, Jiggy, OB Hollywood Andrew, Dick Rees, Joe Schmoe, Mark Cross, Joshua and Vince St. Price. The RT deejay became the gold standard for all other deejays in the Philippines.
RT was also home to some of America’s popular hit countdown shows like “American Top 40″ and the “Rick Dees Weekly Top 40″. In the early 80’s (specifically 1983-1984), RT also ventured into the music-video business. As one of the pioneer music video shows in the Philippines, “Rhythm Of The City” which aired on Tuesdays at 7:30 pm on then government-owned MBS Channel 4 (now NBN Channel 4), showcased then ground-breaking videos from artists such as Men At Work, Naked Eyes, Real Life, Michael Jackson, and some of the best acts in North America during a time when then-fledgling MTV had not yet established its presence in the Asian region.
It is also known for one of the best oldies shows in Philippine radio, 24K Friday playing the hits from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
It was also known as the first radio station in The Philippines to have ventured into having a home on the World Wide Web, launching its bulletin board in 1995.
In 1996, Trans-Radio sold RT to Supreme Broadcasting Corporation, which what would later become Real Radio Network Inc. Under new management, the station tried its best to maintain its upscale and niche-market on-air identity and programming format, unlike many other stations which reformatted after being sold.
Over the next few years, 99.5 RT’s sound slowly became similar to other CHR radio stations in Manila. By 2004, most of its veteran DJs had left and were replaced by younger ones. During the period, programs like Up and Coming (a new music countdown show, which later split into two: RT Top 10 Biggies (daily) and the RT Top 40 (weekly)), On the Decks (a dance show), RT Sunday Sessions (where performed live in the radio station’s studio), The Get Up and Go Show with Joe Schmoe, Alex and Lellie, Dinner and Drive Show (formerly known as Da Brainy Bunch), and The Playground with Da Kid, Lexi Locklear and BB Fred were developed. Beginning in 2004, RT put up an annual concert event called, “Ripe Tomatoes”, featuring up to 30 OPM bands playing back-to-back on a single night.
In 2006, a corporate decision was made to rename RT to “HiT FM” starting January 2007. Thus, at 12:00 am on December 18, 2006, the station signed off as 99.5 RT. For the next two weeks, the station played non-stop music, with occasional liners from the DJs, and teasers about the new station. On January 1, 2007, it officially signed on as HiT 99.5.
On January 1, 2007, Hit 99.5 signed on and presented almost-uninterrupted music programming with live announcers and its new programs officially debuted on January 8, 2007. The programming was essentially the same as RT’s, but more content-driven rather than music oriented. It catered to a young audience, whose demographics included kids in high-school and college; from the aspirational to the affluent backgrounds. It used cutting edge production techniques and materials to accent the music with an upbeat and hip sound image that identified the station distinctly from competition. In August of that year, its on-air name was changed to 99.5 Hit FM.
There were special programs to highlight the variety of music played on Hit FM. These included:
The #1 Hit Weekend – The hottest songs from the 90s were played on request. This was also similar to 105.9 Mix FM’s The #1 Weekend.
Sunday Sessions – The hot OPM bands come in to the HiT FM studio to play their hits live. It was previously known as RT Sunday Sessions.
The 24K Experience – Yesterday’s hottest hits of the 70’s and 80’s, based on the 24K Friday format of the original 99.5 RT as hosted by Joshua.
MigZ Big Night Out – A weekly opener to David’s House, hosted by MigZ with a Z offering remixes, mashups, mixes, and hot spots in the metro to go out and party.
David’s House – A show that plays house music mixed live by DJ David Ardiente and remotely broadcasts from different night spots in the metro every Saturday.
Wake Up Call – Sunday morning show that plays rock songs to wake up listeners. hosted by Lellie.
Reel Hit Soundtracks – music from television and film soundtracks, slanting towards alternative, on Sunday nights, hosted by Ron.
Programs previously aired on Hit FM that did not last until its close include:
Old School Wednesdays – The program that played 80s and 90s hits. It lasted from January to August 2008.
24K Friday – Yesterday’s hottest hits of the 70’s and 80’s the same as 99.5 RT. It lasted from September 7 to November 2, 2007 before being replaced with The 24K Experience.
The Factory – A radio show with Ron and Carlie. It lasted until the middle of August 2008. It was similar to Mellow 947’s C & C Factory.
Morning After – A early to rise show for listeners hosted by Liz, full of rants, raves, and opinions.
Other programs focused on entertainment:
Sam vs Sam – the station’s first morning show, with Sam Y.G. and Sam Oh. It lasted until mid-July 2007 when Sam YG transferred to Magic while Sam Oh did one-month hiatus
The Hit Morning Crew – the on-air crew (including the Flushmasters) waking up the mornings including the wackiest game segment “Beat The Flush”, with Sam Oh, Bennii and Christina (previously with Robi, Chevy, Sonny B. and Tin)
You Pick The Hit – an all-out phone-line request show
Beauty Meets BahagZ – with Tracy and MigZ, replacing Great School Coaster
The Homerun – with Winner and Lellie; one of the most listened show on HitFM along with Brewrats and Mornings with Kelly and tin. they catered the audiences with games such as Uhm, Uhh, Panic, Secret Sound, Acro and others. They also have special program named The 8-ball countdown which features Top 8 songs according to the listeners’ votes and request. The Homerun lasted throughout the station’s entire history
The Midnight Ride – with Dj David Ardiente; The show for those who want more beyond the usual listening hours, from Tuesdays to Fridays.
Mornings with Kelly and Tin – previously Afternoons with…, it lasted until December 31, 2007, when Kelly left the station.
Totally Mental – a phone-in program hosted by Ron and Borgy Manotoc; this was substantially different from its original version, which aired on K-Lite 103.5.
The BrewRats! – A show starring Ramon Bautista, Tado and Angel from the TV show, Strangebrew, in a three hour, anything goes radio show. It first aired on August 20, 2007.